all 10 comments

[–]Horrux 6 insightful - 2 fun6 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 2 fun -  (2 children)

I once made a change.org petition to make it mandatory that non-reusable plastics, such as wrapping materials, shopping bags and water bottles be made out of biodegradable plastics. I got all of 7 votes.

It shows one thing: people don't give a shit. To them, so long as they put the plastic in the recycle bin, it's out of sight and out of mind, and don't bother me with this shit again. That's the kind of attitude people have. And I can't really blame them: everybody's busy. But it's been known since the beginning that recycling wouldn't work over the long haul, not without major innovation in the field. It was the wrong path to begin with.

[–]infocom6502[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

yes that would have been nice. I'm worried that all this going into landfills will sometimes wash into the seas over geological time. not all of it will remain buried. That's the problem.

If it can be turned into a form that is unlikely to wash from a landfill and contain almost all of the plastic then the problem is solved imho. An example would be if they could admix some gunk derivative of the plastics into asphalt.

Microplastics are also a issue. Even for biodegadable.

There are however new bacteria that have evolved that break down some plastics like some organisms break down waxes. The enzyme is called 'petase' among other names:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/08/scientists-create-mutant-enzyme-that-recycles-plastic-bottles-in-hours

I like you focus on packaging material. The point that's important here is that the mass of plastic is not a good measure for damage. surface area is a better measure. You can have a solid cubic meter block of plastic and it will do practically zero environmental damage. However, turn this block into a bunch of foil and bags and wrapping material and the damage will be extensive with today's recycling and WM infrastructure.

[–]infocom6502[S] 1 insightful - 2 fun1 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

The point that's important here is that the mass of plastic is not a good measure for damage. surface area is a better measure. You can have a solid cubic meter block of plastic and it will do practically zero environmental damage. However, turn this block into a bunch of foil and bags and wrapping material and the damage will be extensive

Some weird semi-related news. A cargo ship spilled untold amounts of lentil sized plastic pellets off the coast on New Orleans during a storm in early August. https://weather.com/science/environment/video/nurdle-apocalypse-in-mississippi-river-after-plastic-spill

[–]jet199 3 insightful - 3 fun3 insightful - 2 fun4 insightful - 3 fun -  (1 child)

[–]infocom6502[S] 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

I think the negative press is maybe not an agenda against the industry, but just the sad reality that the industry isn't effective anymore. In the US plastics recycling has mostly devolved into PR operation to make consumers feel less guilty about consuming all the plastic. Since China has stopped taking scrap plastic from the US (and likely UK too) the vast fraction has gone into storage and landfills.

Basically we're now on our own to try to figure out what to do with it. And until we do plastic recycling will mostly continue to be a PR psychology operation for consumers.

I have a feeling there will be no money in recycling medium and low grade mixed plastics. It might become break even, or it needs to be subsidized I'm guessing. You can pay people a small amount of money to try to make it into a usable resin to mix into asphalt for patching roads. You might be able to use it to admix into solid rocket fuel. But there's no money or negative money in all these uses. It needs to be slightly subsidized likely. I'm okay with spending a few cents of tax if it would help get rid of my pakaging and consumption.

[–]Questionable 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Waste to energy plants. Your city should have one.

[–]Tarrock 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (2 children)

One of the major problems is restrictions on what's recyclable. At home I can't recycle green or black plastics, and a work, they don't want anything that isn't a bottle or container.

[–]yayblueberries 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

I've moved a lot in the past few years and I don't mean from apartment to apartment in the same little area. The petty changes from place to place in what can and cannot be recycled were so ridiculous that I almost gave up caring - fortunately the bin at my current house has a detailed list of what CAN go in there and what should NOT. The last municipality did not even have a convenient hand-out or PDF on their webpage detailing what they do and do not accept, and accordingly, the friends I was staying with threw everything in the garbage instead.

[–]jet199 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

These coloured plastic are legitimately difficult to recycle. Ready meal trays are only black or other colours because marketing departments thought their customers wouldn't like to see cold food sloshing around in clear packaging. They can all be made clear and easier to recycle, it's only just starting to happen.

[–]rubbishwaste 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You're right, friend! We need to influence this! I started using a recycling service https://www.rubbishwaste.co.uk/ If everyone starts to act and do what is in their power, then we can delay the ecological catastrophe of the planet! I would be happy if more people start thinking about recycling and waste management. All the best! Respect!